Many consumers use the most prominent TV ad to determine which detergent they will purchase, or they'll select a brand because their mom used it regularly, and it was always in their household while growing up.
It's safe to assume that most people don't conduct detergent tests in their home to see which one works best, or even mentally document how good a soap is after a load is completed.
In our effort to examine both new and already established products, ConsumerAffairs informally tested the laundry detergent named "Country Save," that the company claims is far superior to bigger and more established brands.
According to the Country Save company, the detergent has no chemicals or hidden ingredients, is biodegradable, and it's dye- and fragrance-free.
The company also says not much soap is needed for an entire load, and the special mixture allows for a small amount of detergent to go along way. It also says huge loads will be flawlessly cleaned with no left-over soap residue, which is all we can ask of a laundry detergent, right?
We didn't find a lot of jibber-jabber about Country Save in a scan of social media but the 390 postings we found over the last year were largely positive and tended to support the view the company's claims.
Our computerized sentiment analysis found no negative emotions expressed by consumers posting to social media, as shown in this graph:
Luckily it was laundry day in my household, and the perfect time to see how this obscure, but 35-year old brand really performed. Especially compared to my usual brands of detergent, which tend to shift back and fourth between Tide and Gain.
On the back of the 2.0 package I used, it said the small amount was enough to do "one large load in a top load machine, or two loads in a front load machine". It's always nice when a product says a little can go a long way. That means consumers can possibly get more bang for their hard-earned buck.
I have a top load washer, so I used the tiny packet to do one load. When pouring the powdered detergent into the machine, I said to myself 'If this small amount of soap successfully cleans my huge load of laundry, I'll be pretty impressed'. With both Tide and Gain, I usually have to fill its big plastic scoopers to get a large load all-the-way-clean.
What were the results?
The best way to test a detergent, or any other product for that matter, is to judge it by its claims. So after I pulled the clothes from the dryer, I gave it the sniff test to determine if I smelled any annoying perfumes or fragrances, since the company said there were no added ingredients.
Did it have a clean and fresh smell? Yes. The clothes did smell clean, but not in that chemically induced way that products like Gain or Tide do. The finished clothes had a scentless smell, which many people prefer, while others like their clothes to have a perfumey aroma. If you prefer the later, Country Save may not be for you.
Second company claim: Did the small amount of detergent used successfully clean the big load I washed. Yes, it did. No left-over stains, no left-over soap residue, and each article of clothing was cleaned in equal proportion. So far two for two.
I forgot to add a bit of detergent to the collar of one of my soiled button-up shirts, but the collar still came out clean. The opposite happens with Tide and Gain. If soap isn't directly applied to the collar, a small bit of dirt will still be left over.
Country Save was also pretty gentle with my colors (I didn't wash any whites), and didn't fade any of the brights. Many detergents are harsh on jeans for example, as it will fade its blue color a bit upon each wash. No noticeable color changes were seen, although one would have to use the product several times in a row to see if this remains true.
The average consumer doesn't really require that much from a laundry detergent. If it cleans your clothes properly, doesn't have an annoying scent, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg, most would say it's a pretty good product.
So, as far as those requirements go, Country Save passed when it came to clothes cleanliness, and only needing a small amount of detergent for a large load.
But its other claims, like being gentle on sensitive skin can only be determined after extended use.
The good thing however, is there was nothing that jumped out at me that said, this product is inferior to others on the market. But, there was also nothing that seemed to say the product was far superior, except for its more-bang-for-your-buck-appeal.
But in these cash-strapped times, when families are trying to maximize their dollars, more bang for you buck may be enough for you to test out Country Save. It's only in selected stores but is available at Amazon and other online outlets.